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Business Transformation in Action

Joe McKendrick

InterContinental Hotels' SOA-based Initiatives Earn 'Wow' Rating

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The deployment of cloud-based customer service contact centers, based on SOA standards, enables a leading hotel chain to maintain consistency and scale.

Blair Pleasant recently sat in on the Customer Innovation Awards presentation at the most recent Genesys/Alcatel Lucent Enterprise Application Group analyst conference, and a hotel chain's SOA-based customer care center rated as one of the "Wow" innovations cited.

Bill Peer, vice president of enterprise architecture for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) described how technology helps elevate customer service to the highest levels in the industry. "You don't simply push data/information at a guest, you envelop them in the system," he is quoted as saying. "They are more than part of the ecosystem, they are its center."

The company is working on a mobile communications channel to customers it calls "Virtually Me." Virtually Me will be available within the next four years, and will enable customers to transmit and share personal information, such as musical tastes or health information, via their mobile device, which can notify the hotel property to provide information that can help improve the guest's stay.

To accomplish this, IHG is integrating unified communications technology from Genesys with its business processes. As Pleasant puts it, "IHG lifted out call routing and logic and placed it in the cloud for all system interactions. It built a Web browser-based thin client providing access to all of its CRM systems for handling calls. These hybrid cloud-based services, in conjunction with SOA-based services, let IHG set up a contact center any where in the world quickly and easily."

The result, Pleasant writes, "is faster technology deployment to the hotels, with the ability to shut on/off contact centers with zero disruption, reducing cost to the hotels."

In this blog (formerly known as "SOA in Action"), Joe McKendrick examines how BPM and related business and IT approaches can promote business transformation.

Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. View more

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